Louis Delmas is injured again, meaning it must be football season. The Lions starting safety has been effective and the defense has overall been good when he’s played healthy, but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case nearly enough.
Delmas will be out indefinitely after undergoing a procedure on his knee to relieve pain. It sounds like a knee scope–which wouldn’t mean the entire season is lost–but Delmas is too vital a piece of the secondary to not be concerned.
Last year the Lions defense was good with Delmas, awful without him. It’s not 100% certain that his knee injury was the biggest factor behind the defense’s late season collapses–it also coincided with Ndamukong Suh’s suspension and subsequent less aggressive play–but it definitely didn’t help it. After Delmas went out, the secondary was for the most part outmatched and confused. The injury now means that the starters will likely be Amari Spievey and veteran Erik Coleman at safety and Chris Houston and who the hell knows at cornerback. Among the safeties, Spievey has had ups and downs converting to safety and Coleman is a marginal pro. No doubt the Lions will be watching the waiver wire intently.
Despite the apparently devastating news, it might not be all bad. The Lions defense collapsed when they needed it most late in the season after starting strong. It’s crazy to think, but if the injury proned Delmas is out for a couple months at the beginning of the season instead of the end, it might mean that he will be getting back into prime form when the Lions need him most and are hopefully making a playoff run. A healthy Delmas could have meant the difference between a return trip to the Superdome and a date with the eventual Super Bowl Champion Giants in last year’s playoffs. The Lions match up well with the Giants and would have possibly been favored in that game and maybe the whole complexion of the playoffs would have changed.
There’s no doubt that the injury isn’t good, but depending on the extent of the surgery, it might just be a bump in the road.